FALL 2016 SYLLABUS: English Listening & Speaking for Political Science & International Politics (Sophomores)
Meeting Time & Location: Tuesdays & Fridays from 8:00-9:30AM, Rm. 316
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IROral.html
Office: 4th floor, Rm 401
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Jump to: Exams Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This course aims to improve students English skills, specifically listening comprehension and grammatically correct, oral self-expression. Topics of class discussion will be general for the first few weeks to increase students' comfort and confidence communicating in English, and some time after National Week will shift into more political topics. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: In addition to grammar and vocabulary-building exercises, students can expect to talk to classmates about an assigned topic, make group presentations, and play games. Often, these will be based on printed handouts given in class, so students who are absent should be sure to get copies of class content for missed sessions. Once or twice in the semester, students will meet with the instructor in "small conversation groups" for 15-30 minutes in lieu of a regular class session. Occasionally students will need to come prepared to make a group presentation or read a text to be ready for a debate or discussion, but usually there will be no homework.

EXAMS: The main portion of both the midterm and final exams will be administered orally, 1-on-1 with the instructor. A short written portion worth no more than 1/4 of the exam grade will supplement the oral exam.

GRADING: The midterm and final exams will be the main determinants of the final grade, with attendance and daily grades influencing borderline cases.

RECOMMENDED AMERICAN NEWS WEBSITES IN ENGLISH: General & Easy to Read - Washington Post ...(Left-Wing/Liberal) - CommonDreams ...(Right-Wing/Conservative) - National Review (There are lots more of each, and you're encouraged to explore! Many are unfortunately not accessible from China.) Any time you read something interesting about the U.S. election in Chinese or English, please bring a copy of it or a link to the article so we can discuss it in class.

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

In Fall 2016, all students interested in the 2016 U.S. elections are invited to attend the Junior PA class on Thursdays at 3:30PM in Classroom 10. The class will focus on listening and speaking with debates and discussion of issues in U.S. media related to the elections. It will have little or no homework and no exams.

Every effort will be made to present class materials in a fair manner which does not unconciously or excessively privilege Western thought and theories over Chinese and other approaches. However, given the instructor's training in a U.S. university, the majority of the material will be presented as closely as possible to an "Intro to IR" class in the USA. Anyone wishing to object officially, of course, has the option of reporting the instructor to the hotline reported below:


It is hoped that will not be necessary, and we can use this class to learn and discuss collegially how China and the U.S. view international politics!



WEEK 1 (9-6, 9-9): Instructor returns from USA on Sept. 7th, so it is unlikely we will have class this week.

WEEK 2 (9-13, 9-18): TUES. CLASS INTRODUCTION: Assign & discuss Western names & titles. Sing "The Name Song." Play 7-up Stand-up. FRI. (SUN.) Student introductions & travel.

WEEK 3 (9-20, 9-23): TUES. Finish travel lesson, begin comparisons. FRI. Compare China & USA generally.

WEEK 4 (9-27, 9-30): TUES. Studying politics in a U.S. university. Instructor presents on college life in the USA. FRI. Finish college in USA presentation. HOMEWORK: In groups, students prepare presentations of about 10 minutes about the similarities and differences between college life in China & the USA.

WEEK 5 (10-4, 10-7): NATIONAL WEEK...NO CLASS? SAT. 10-8 Students present in groups on the differences between college life in China & the USA. See also this account of Chinese students at the University of WI, the instructor's home state.

WEEK 6 (10-11, 10-14): TUES. Greetings & informal American English (based on handout). Agreeing & Disagreeing (based on handout). FRI. Introduce controversial policy proposals and statements from 2016 U.S. presidential candidates. In groups of 2-4, students write dialogs on topics about which they disagree, using at least ten sentences and five expressions from the handouts.

WEEK 7 (10-18, 10-21): TUES. Practice, perform, and answer questions about dialogs of disagreement. FRI. VOCABULARY GAME

WEEK 8 (10-25, 10-28): TUES. Introduction to basic political terms in English: government, state, regime, administration, dynasty, etc. If time permits, outline regime types & Max Weber's concept of "legitimate authority" and its three types (traditional, charismatic, rational/legal/bureaucratic). FRI. Introduce structure of U.S. government as a presidential, liberal, representative democracy, based on handout to be distibuted in class.

WEEK 9 (11-1, 11-4): TUES. Discuss the 2016 U.S. Elections using this handout. FRI. Students make speeches in support of one of the presidential candidates. Students "vote" for the U.S. president. Assign students to groups and times for small conversation groups on Tues. (assuming no time conflicts). Distribute instructions and questions for midterm oral exam.

WEEK 10 (11-8, 11-11): TUES. Small Conversation Groups? (Tentatively extend class to 10:00AM.) FRI. MIDTERM REVIEW GAME

Sat., Nov. 12th, 9AM: Big English & Politics Competition, Round 1. Competing in teams of five from 班 in 政法学院= Scrabble (一楼大厅) & Wordjong Tournament (第五教室). Top 8 teams advance to Round 2. Teams not advancing are awarded notebooks and Russian candy.


Sun., Nov. 20th, 5:30PM: Big English & Politics Competition, Round 2. Game show (like Review Game) format. 1st Place Prize: 1000 yuan & others, 2nd Place Prize: 500 yuan & others, 3rd Place Prize: 300 yuan & others, 4th Place Prize: TBA, 5th Place Prize: TBA, 6-8th Place Prize: Notebook, CD, & Russian candy.

WEEK 12 (11-22, 11-25): TUES. Return & discuss midterm written exam. Examine Trump's policy proposals and decide which ones are likely or unlikely to be implemented. FRI. Presentation on "State Security under Anarchy"

WEEK 13 (11-29, 12-2): TUES. Discuss questions of war & peace. i.e. What is and is not a war? What are the different categories of wars? Who can "declare war"? Are there more or fewer wars in recent decades than in the 20th century? Are 21st-century wars larger or smaller than past wars? Why hasn't there been a "great power war" since World War II? When, if ever, do you think China will next go to war (i.e. for what? in how many years/decades?) FRI. Money Is the Root of All Evil

WEEK 14 (12-6, 12-9): TUES. Anthropocentrism: The "tradeoff" between the environment and economic development. Watch a small portion of the film Koyaanisqatsi. Take a look at the World Wildlife Fund's 2016 Living Planet Report, which estimates a drop in animal populations by 2/3 from 1970-2020. See also The Guardian on industrial farming. FRI. Perform dialogs on the tradeoff between economic development and environmental protection. Maybe there's still a few baiji left in the Yangtze? Contrast anthropocentrism and misanthropy as two opposite, unhealthy extremes.

WEEK 15 (12-13, 12-16): TUES. Describing a person. FRI. Dreams for the Future.

WEEK 16 (12-20, 12-23): TUES. Love & Relationships. FRI. TBA


WEEK 18: Final oral exams (all week): Tues. 11:45-12:35, Wed. 11:45-1:20, Thurs. 8-9:30 & Noon-1:15. Final written exam Thurs., Jan. 5th, 10AM, Classroom 2.


Class topics for remaining weeks... Terrorism, Journalism & The Media, Small Conv. Groups #2